Jun 282014
 

The NCLB has a post of “questions that parents should address to ensure that their child’s learning and behavioral needs are being met”  when considering homeschoolng, but I think the NCLB presents bias-based questioning against Homeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities. What do you think?

NCLD Poses Question #1 for parents to ask themselves before homeschooling: “Do I really want to take full responsibility for my child’s academic learning?” 

Do most parents of children with learning disabilities really “want” to take full responsibility for their child’s education? 

Probably not before they start homeschooling, but sometimes it is necessary for parents to homeschool for the sake of the child.


Learning Abled Kids’ Proposed BETTER Question: “Is it necessary for me to take full responsibility for my child’s academic learning?”

My Homeschooling a Child with Learning Disabilities Question Analysis:

Whether or not a parent “wants” to take full responsibility for a child’s education is not the right question.  A Parent may not “WANT” to take full responsibility for a child’s academic learning, but when a public school lets a child flounder academically year-after-year, a parent is often forced to take educational matters into her own hands. That’s why many parents, including myself, ultimately take control of academic learning through homeschooling.

The better question is whether it is “necessary” for a parent to take control is based upon the needs of the child.  When a person becomes a parent, she becomes responsible for the child in every way.  A parent only has one opportunity to raise a child, and it is a parents job to be sure the child receives an adequate education one way or another.  If the school isn’t teaching the child and the child is not making adequate educational progress, then the parent must take full responsibility, and often that means homeschooling.

My Master’s Degree research shows about 1/3rd of homeschooled children have learning difficulties and the vast majority of those children began their schooling in public school, but the public schools failed to meet the academic learning needs of the child, so the parents began homeschooling.  Did those parents plan on homeschooling? No.  They sent their children to school because they didn’t want to be fully responsible for the child’s academic learning, but the failure of the school to provide an adequate education made it necessary for the parents to homeschool.

If a child does not receive an adequate education, the parent will be the one who has to deal with the ramifications during the child’s life–not the public school teacher, not an administrator, no one else in the public school is going to have ongoing issues if your child is inadequately educated.  If the school is not meeting the needs of a child, the parent either has to force the school to change provisioning through due process avenues, must provide private services or private schools, or the parent must homeschool to meet the child’s needs directly.  It’s a parent’s decision as to how to insure a child gets an adequate education, but the parent is fully responsible already.

Making a decision to homeschool may require a substantial change in financial priorities by requiring a downsizing a family’s lifestyle to have a parent available to homeschool.  Meeting a child’s needs through private, paid services may require a parent taking a second job to pay for private services, or it may take a highly creative solution for a parent to insure a child’s educational needs are met.  Taking full charge of a child’s academics isn’t easy, but parents sometimes find it necessary to take charge of a child’s education–one way or another–whether it is through homeschooling or private provisioning.

So, the better question for you is whether it is necessary for you to take full responsibility for a child’s academic learning at this time?  When the answer is YES, it IS necessary for the sake of the child, then homeschooling becomes a prime option.  So the real question for you isn’t whether you “want” to be responsible for your child’s education–You already are.  The real question is whether your child’s educational needs are being met and whether it is necessary for you to take charge of your child’s education.

~ Takeaway:

IF your child is not making adequate academic progress and you don’t take responsibility, nobody else will.  Sometimes a parent has to do what he or she does not WANT to do because it is necessary for the sake of the child!!  That may sound like a heavy statement, but the stakes in life are high for a child who fails to get an adequate education.

On a much more pleasant side of this note, I didn’t WANT to have to homeschool, but it was necessary and ultimately homeschooling became a much bigger blessing in our lives than we imagined before we started.  There are so many hidden benefits in homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, and our homeschooling has enabled our boys to go to college with scholarships due to their academic achievement.  While we didn’t want to homeschool before we started, it has been a blessing beyond imagining.  If you want to know more about how homeschooling a child with learning disabilities works, and the hidden blessings in homeschooling your child, please check out the book I wrote:  Overcome Your Fear Homeschooling. The book shares information about unexpected benefits of homeschooling, why homeschooled children usually learn at a better pace with better educational outcomes, the dynamics that change with homeschooling which actually made your life easier than dealing with all of the public school issues (teachers who won’t follow the IEP, bullying, no educational progress, IEP meetings, stress, stress, and more stress) ~all of that that vanished when we began homechooling, thankfully. There’s much more than I can share in a page, so I wrote the book! ;-)

I had a lot of misconceptions before we began homeschooling, and it is evident the writer of the NCLB questions has misconceptions too.  Perhaps you have misconceptions about how difficult homeschooling might be, issues with patience, or doubts about special education teaching, that hold you back from homeschooling.  If so, you can eliminate your misconceptions by reading Overcome Your Fear Homeschooling and learning how homeschooling is quite different from what you may imagine it to be when homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.  It’s is often a lot easier to homeschool than you might imagine!

The NCLD also asks the Biased Question:  “Will home schooling deny my child the full range of social interactions and experiences with peers and adults that is so important to the development of a well-balanced personality?”  “Deny?” ~ Um.. No.  Kids who are homeschooled have more NATURAL social interactions because they interact with children of all ages at social activities. There are plenty of social opportunities, which are well supervised and not prone to bullying, when you get involved in the homeschooling community.

More on social skills here: Check out, Socially Inept: How to Improve Your Child’s Social Skills, which is more easily done if your child is homeschooled and you are present to witness social interactions.

Why am I posting this series of questions?

I was reading an article on NCLD.org’s website about homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, but unfortunately,  their “sampling of some questions that parents should address to ensure that their child’s learning and behavioral needs are being met” while homeschooling show a bias against homeschooling.  Sadly, their questions do not show a good understanding of the benefits of homeschooling a child with a learning disability and may scare a lot of parents away from consideration of homeschooling as a viable means of meeting a child’s academic needs.

The NCLD’s questions seem based upon the perception that parents are not going to want the responsibility of homeschooling a child with learning disabilities, and the NCLB displays a bias for ongoing monitoring, testing, and progress reporting by a public school system.  The NCLD’s overall connotation in the wording of their questions shows the typical public education system mindset that parents won’t be able to fully meet a child’s needs through homeschooling.

I think the NCLB is OFF BASE with their article, and they don’t provide parents with meaningful questions for determining whether homeschooling will be of benefit to them in meeting the needs of their learning abled child.  The NCLB doesn’t provide any solutions or answers either, so their questions come across as being designed to instill doubt or fear in the minds of parents who may be considering homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.

I’ve decided to respond to the NCLB questions with my own questions, which are more “on target” for analysis of homeschooling from INSIDE of the homeschooling lifestyle.  My questions are based upon personal experience, knowledge of homeschooling children with learning disabilities from the inside of consulting with other parents, and the reality of how homeschooling a child with learning disabilities actually works!!

I think I’ll tackle one NCLB question at a time, and link the articles with each other from week to week.  I’ll share a link to the NCLB article at the end of the series, and only once because I don’t want to “plug” their article and risk having parents run across that article as their first advice about homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.  I think that would be a disservice to both the parents and the children!

Nov 142013
 

Parent Support for Desperate Moms
However, parents should never have to get this desperate when it comes to a child’s education.

The Story: It happened again today. I always attribute it to God putting me in the right place at the right time to provide parent support to desperate moms.

I was out running errands, and I had not intended to, but I decided to stop and grab lunch on my way home since I have a busy afternoon ahead.

My lunch arrived and I had just begun eating when a woman walked in the restaurant and asks the first person she sees, “Is that your green car out there?” I knew instantly, she was looking for me.


The woman glanced around quickly, identified me as another likely candidate and asked me, “Is that your green car out there?”

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

I’m often thankful for my green car. Not only is it a great car (Honda CR-V), but it is also distinct because of its color. That aspect was not a consideration when I bought the car–I just liked the green color.

“Tell me about your parent support,” the woman says, “I saw it on your car.” She wasn’t crying yet, but I could tell there was an urgency in her voice.

I knew exactly what she meant. The back window of my car has the logo for “Learning Abled Kids” on it. I proceeded to tell her that I helped support parents of learning abled kids in figuring out how to meet their child’s educational needs. I told her we have an online parent support group where everyone helps each other.”

“That’s good because..” and she started telling me her story. It was similar to many stories I’ve heard, and yet distinct with its own little nuances and a slightly different flavor.

Nevertheless, there it was–another Learning Abled Kid whose education was wasting away in public school.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cry on you,” she said.

“That’s TOTALLY okay. I’ve been right where you are. I understand completely,” I said nearly in tears myself. It is always heart-breaking that this scenario takes place in school after school, year after year, and I wonder if it will ever stop.

We talked more about how remiss public schools are in meeting the needs of kids with reading-based learning disabilities. We talked a little bit about schooling options and I gave her my business card. She thanked me for my time and started to leave..

I called out to her, “Chin Up. It’ll be okay because you care!” And so it will be.

And so, once again I had a conversation over lunch with a crying stranger, but it was meant to be. I always want to give HUGE hugs, and tell the mom. “Thank You!” on behalf of her child.

For any parent who seeks solutions, and asks questions, answers shall come your way. Whether by me, by the Learning Abled Kids’ parent support group, or by some other knowledgeable source. Just keep asking, keep seeking, and you shall find educational solutions for your child.

As long as you don’t give up on your child, seek answers and solutions, and put the solutions in place, your child will be alright.

Your child is already well ahead of many kids because he has a mom who cares enough to go into a restaurant to seek an unknown, total stranger that drives a green car.

Seeker Mom, YOU ROCK!

Nov 052013
 

Your How To Homeschool FAQs Answered:

For Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities or Twice Exceptional Abilities

After a decade of homeschooling my own learning abled kids and consulting with other parents who are crying “Help!” I decided it was time to write an easy reference for you.

If you’re feeling like I was when I was new to homeschooling, I felt like I was asking “too many How To Homeschool questions.”


As a potential homeschooler who is just starting to realize your child has learning disabilities, “How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions AnsweredHow To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid” will answer many of your questions about homeschooling a child with learning disabilities.

The book contains the top How To Homeschool questions I’ve been asked repeatedly over the past decade as the leader of the Learning Abled Kids’ Support Group. Our group has more than 1500 members, so that’s a lot of questions!

So, fear not.. Your How To Homeschool questions are probably similar to, or the same as, many other homeschooling parents who have opted to homeschool their learning abled kids.

If you have specific questions, check out the table of contents using the “Look Inside” feature of the book to see if your questions are answered. Hopefully the answers to your How To Homeschoolquestions are in there, and the book will be a helpful resource to you.

What this book WILL tell you..

How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered” will point you towards a large number of resources that can help you in homeschooling your learning abled kid.

The book will inform you about the wide variety of evaluations you should consider, how to find highly qualified evaluators, why evaluations are important, and what to do if you can’t afford an evaluation.

How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered” will help you figure out how to teach your child based upon your child’s evaluation reports, point you to resources for determining the specific learning needs for your child, and will teach you what to search for in locating the right curricula for teaching your child.

This book will also point you towards different types of curricula and resources for effectively teaching your child based upon common disability categories. It will provide tips for managing a variety of issues you may face while homeschooling your learning abled kid.

How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered” will direct you towards effective tools for teaching, accommodations you can and should provide, and research-based, proven methods for teaching your child.
How To Homeschool

Buy “How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 QUESTIONS ANSWERED” on Amazon Now

What this book will NOT tell you..

This book does not provide a “must use” list of curricula for any given disability, but does offer suggestions for programs that may help with specific learning disabilities.

The book’s focus is on helping you figure out what your child needs rather than giving “one size fits all” solutions that seldom meet the needs of every learner.

Your child is unique, as you already know, so finding a unique solution that meets the learning needs of your child is your goal.

Because children have widely varied learning styles and learning needs, the book takes an approach towards helping you narrow down the choices.  “How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered” provides suggested resources for specific learning disabilities your child may have. If the suggested resources don’t meet your child’s specific needs, hopefully I’ve provided enough information to enable you to find an effective program for your child.

Also, the 50 states all have different laws so, “How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered does not list the specific details regarding what you have to do to homeschool legally in your individual state. However, the book does tell you precisely how to find the information you need.  The book also DOES provide information and resources for complying with a wide variety of legal schooling and reporting requirements.

Similarly, “How To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered” does not tell you exactly what to teach your child at each grade level because that would be a book all by itself.  However, the book does direct you to free resources on the Internet that you can use to know what to teach your child at every grade level.

Being Certain About Your Choice To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid

How To HomeschoolIf you’re still unsure about whether homeschooling is the right choice for your learning abled kid, then “Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” is a great book for helping you know exactly what you’re in for. Homeschooling is not a choice made lightly by any parent, and it is difficult to feel comfortable about the unknowns in homeschooling.

Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” is based upon the fears I had, and which many parents have, coming into homeschooling. The book examines the fears and explains the realities after a decade of homeschooling and looking back to see where my fears were unfounded, and where the fears were a reality and how we coped with issues we faced.

Homeschooing a Learning Abled Kid is a unique challenge, and it is more difficult to find homeschoolers that can relate to your specific challenges. Thus, I don’t want you to feel like you are traveling that road alone because there are hundreds of other parents homeschooling similarly challenged children. “Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling” helps you connect with those who can help you travel this unique, and ultimately rewarding road towards education.

HAPPY HOMESCHOOLING!

Sep 262013
 

Need help with Parenting Skills?

Do you find your self screaming at your learning abled kid?  Are you frequently frustrated, stressed out, or at your wits end?

I *know* I was there!!

So what did I do?  I developed better parenting skills.

How Do You Develop GOOD Parenting Skills?

Unfortunately, we are not born knowing how to parent our learning abled kids, and they don’t come with instruction manuals.  Our learning abled kids suffer enough with their own internal and educational frustrations, so no parent wants to add to her child’s feelings of frustration or low self-esteem.


Nevertheless, there are a significant number of parenting frustrations to be dealt with, particularly once your child enters school and has homework to complete in the evening.

Learning to parent your learning abled kid effectively using good parenting skills will go a long way in improving your child’s experiences growing up and it will make your household a safe haven for your child. Learning good parenting skills could save your child’s heart, mind, and self-esteem, and help you have eternally great family relationships. Nothing was more worthwhile in my own understanding of my child’s needs than learning how to effectively parent my boys with good parenting skills.

Personally, I didn’t know how to parent well, whether my guys were learning abled kids or not! The parenting models I had were the old-fashioned yelling and screaming, spanking and no dinner approaches. If you use them, how well are those parenting skills working for you?

I didn’t spank or withhold food, but I did yell and scream, and that didn’t work well for me at ALL. I found myself loathing myself for my yelling, for my lack of patience, and for feeling at my wits end not knowing what to do to motivate and inspire my young, energetic, but distracted boys.

I began looking for BETTER parenting skills. My biggest questions were, “What are good parenting skills?” and “How do I develop them?” THANKFULLY, I became a much better parent and quit my screaming and yelling ways while my boys were still young (they don’t even remember–WHEW!).  We have great relationships with each other and for that, I am truly blessed among moms.

How I Developed Good Parenting Skills:

I began checking out various books about parenting from the library, including “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.”

Other great books I read include:

Reading any one of these books will help you. Reading all of these books and applying what you learn will shape you into an awesome parent for the sake of your Learning Abled Kid(s). I read them when my boys were very young, when my oldest was just starting school, and I became a changed parent!

You will be a better parent by the end of the month if you read these books and apply what you learn. I’m so thankful I did, and I hope telling on myself and sharing these books with you will help you cope well with your learning abled kid(s).  If you don’t have time to read any good parenting skills books right now, here are some quick tips to get you started:

Quick Tips on Good Parenting Skills

  • Don’t scream and yell at your child,
  • Don’t let siblings call each other belittling names,
  • Don’t let siblings tease each other about disabilities,
  • Don’t assume you know your child’s motivation levels (never accuse him of being lazy or not trying hard enough with his school work – he may have done his best, hardest work and what you see is what you got),
  • Be as understanding as you possibly can (realize your child wants your understanding, love, and approval–always);
  • Be generous with your praise, and very reserved with your criticism,
  • Always tackle problems together (“we’ll figure this out”) rather than expecting your child to come up with a solution (“you need to be more organized” ~ it may be true, but your child needs step-by-step teaching on how to be more organized, how to study, etc. ~ He won’t magically know these things).
  • Be your child’s advocate in front of all others including extended family, your child’s friends, your friends, at your child’s school, and out in the community. Your child needs someone to stand up for him.
  • Practice patience, regularly, painfully, in any way you can, and
  • Tell your child you love him frequently–no ifs or buts.. unconditionally.

That’s just a brief list of some basics. I’m sure I’ve left some important tips off, and all of the above is more easily said than done, so reading some good parenting skills books will help improve your parenting abilities better than my list!

HUGS!!! From one Learning Abled Kids’ momma to another, love yourself like I love ya. ;-) ~ And, if these tips or the listed books help you, or you have other good parenting skills tips or resources to share, Please SHARE!  Check out the comment section below to see what others have to share! We can all use all of the help we can get.

Sep 032013
 

Programs for overcoming learning disabilities can help your child can learn.

If your child is struggling with schooling, whether in public school or homeschooled, you can help him with a carefully selected, properly implemented program. You can pull information together to create an educational that will help your child learn better and faster.

I am here to help you pull an educational plan together for your child.  If you homeschool, you can implement the plan easily.  If your child is in traditional school, you’ll have to convince your school’s administrators to implement and follow the plan.


My main goal HERE at Learning Abled Kids is to help you figure how to help your child educationally. I’ll help you figure out which curriculum you should use and help you create a learning program that will enable your child to learn successfully. 

If your child is ever going to succeed educationally, you need a solid plan for properly meeting your child’s educational needs.  SO, let’s get started:

You can design a solid educational plan for your child in five steps:

  • Analyze -Your child’s special education needs by assessing learning strengths, learning weaknesses, and learning style.
  • Design – Figure out what type(s) of programs your child will need to be educationally successful in all academic subjects, including subjects where your child’s disability is a primary or secondary educational factor.
  • Develop – Acquire the needed programs and make a plan for implementing them, which involves a decision about whether to provide the programs yourself or whether you will pursue provisioning by your school through your child’s IEP (easier said than done).
  • Implement – Begin using your selected programs.
  • Evaluate – Determine if the program is working and make needed adjustments.

By applying this process to your individual child’s special education needs, you can provide precisely the right kind of program for your child. Using great Programs for Overcoming Learning Disabilities will enable your child to overcome disabilities.

Your child’s progress can be at the pace of your child’s learning. The intensity of the program you provide will affect your child’s rate of progress too. 

Providing Programs for Overcoming Learning Disabilities

If your child is in school, you can work towards having your school provide as much of your child’s program as you can get them to agree to. Convincing your school to provide programs for overcoming learning disabilities may be easy or difficult depending upon your school district. The level of willingness to work outside of their standard provisioning varies greatly from one school to the next.

I am creating this step-by-step guide for figuring out how to select the right curriculum to homeschool and help your child overcome learning disabilities. Thus, the site is not yet fully ready to provide you with the upcoming step-by-step guide.  However, updates are under way.

If you want to get started, the initial page for the Step-by-Step guide for Overcoming Learning Disabilities through Individualized Instructional Design is available along with Step 1: Learner Analysis.  Step 2 is also available, and steps 3-6 are being written.  The website will be updated and restructured as I complete each page.  In the end, I will provide you with a step-by-step template for designing effective instruction specifically for your individual child.

Thank you in advance for your understanding as I make this guide the best I know to make it! If you want the information as it is available in newsletter form, you can subscribe to the Learning Abled Kids’  Tips Newsletter by entering your name and email address in the form in the left hand column.

Aug 172013
 

I’d like to introduce you to my long-time friend and active member of the Learning Abled Kids’ Support Group, Kellie.  I’ve known Kellie since the beginning of my homeschooling days.  We met when our sons participated in a Homeschool Kayaking program together, which they did for several years. My youngest son and Kellie’s second oldest child graduated together in our homeschool group’s cap and gown ceremony.

Kellie has graciously agreed to share her story in hopes that it may be an encouragement for you, particularly if your child(ren) have medical issues and learning disabilities.


Have you homeschooled from the beginning?

Kellie: “I have four children. Our oldest attended public school for K, 1st, and 2nd grades. Our other children have never attended any school other than our home school. Our second and fourth child have learning differences.”

What made you decide to homeschool?

Kellie: “I had a desire to home school from the time our oldest child was very young.  I could not imagine sending a five year old off to spend the entire day with strangers.  It broke my heart.  Over those three years, we saw so many flaws in the one-size-fits-all government school system.  Our final reasons to home school included moral and religious reasons plus the intrusion their schedule imposed on our family schedule.  We also saw that there was no way our second child could flourish in such a system.  The final blow was when the school system would not cooperate with his needs surrounding his severe food allergies.  Those were the years when school shootings became issues for our nation.  Safety was a great concern.”

Since you started out in public school, what issues and problems did you face with your children in school?

Kellie: “Our oldest child was sick a lot.  He caught strep throat approximately every 8 weeks.  He had to have his tonsils out.  The school was over the top about his absences.  Our state was cracking down on truancy at the time.  We were threatened with truancy charges even though our son had a doctor’s excuse for every absence and the teacher actually visited the hospital.  He had to have two other surgeries in those three years and also contracted mono which put him out of school for over two months.  It was ironic to us that though we were being threatened, his teachers said it wasn’t necessary for him to do make up work because even in missing 40 to 50 days of school, ‘he wasn’t missing much.’  These issues only scratch the surface of the many appalling problems we witnessed in the system.”

What is your personal level of education?

Kellie: “My husband and I each graduated high school and attended college.  Neither of us graduated college.”

Did you feel well-qualified to teach your child before you began homeschooling?

Kellie: “I felt qualified in that I couldn’t do worse than the public school was doing and was quite sure I could do a better job.  There have been moments over the years that I was less prepared than I had hoped, but still sure that our choice to home school was best.  I think most of struggle with doubts from time to time and sometimes those doubts linger for a bit.  I certainly don’t regret our choice to homeschool.”

What are some of the main struggles you faced when homeschooling your learning abled child?

Kellie: “There was no map to follow, no play by play guide.  Choosing curriculum was often hit or miss.  Feeling as if I didn’t know which way to turn to make sure my child met his potential was difficult.  There was a sadness at times.  The home school community was not as well connected for most of my home school years as it is now.  It was difficult to find information on home schooling in general much less for teaching a learning abled child.”

What are the main benefits you experienced in homeschooling your learning abled child?

Kellie: “There were many wonderful experiences.  I had time to talk, really talk, daily.  I think quality time being what our kids need is a myth.  They need quantity.  They need face time.  I was not able to protect him from everything wrong in the world, but I did shield him from much of the negative effects of placing a learning abled child in a public school setting.  He also got much more time with his father and grandparents while home schooling than we could have achieved with a public school schedule.”

What is your son’s educational outcome and what is he doing now?

Kellie: “He graduated from our home school on time and dual enrolled in technical college during his last semester of high school.  He was on the President’s List with a 4.0 GPA.  His plans are to continue his course of study to completion.  He will soon be 19.  He is responsible and confident.  The confidence is a very new development.

“It is never too late.  We have been told by college officials and employers that he is well liked, valued, industrious and respected.  Most of all, I’m happy to report that he is happy.”

If you find this story inspiring, please leave a comment below telling how Kellie’s story encourages you. I’m sure she would love knowing her son’s story is inspirational to others.

Aug 022013
 

Return to Questions

Q: I have had to battle my school system for my first child. Now my second child is struggling even harder. Will it be easier to get special education services for my second child?


Answer:

Unfortunately, it is my opinion that you will have to battle just as hard, if not harder  to get the appropriate special education services for your second child.  This is especially true with a resistant public school system who has been difficult to work with in providing effective instruction for a child with learning disabilities in your family.  I hold this opinion for two reasons:

1)  The school may dig their heels in at you requesting “more” services, even if they are for a completely different child.  The school’s resources and personnel are often strapped for time and money, making them increasingly resistant to readily give services.

2) The schools sometimes have a tendency to look at the first child and make assumptions about a second or subsequent children from the same family, and the school personnel may not be as diligent in treating each child according to his or her own individual learning needs.  There is a tendency to “lump” children together perceptually when the children come from a single family.  Assumptions about a child’s needs based upon a siblings needs can often be off-base and detrimental to the child if he doesn’t receive instruction according to his individual needs.

After our treacherous dealings with the public school in trying to have the needs of our oldest son met, going through it all with our second son was something that made me ill! Our experience was horrible.  When my second son started BEGGING to be homeschooled, I started seriously considering it.  Once we made the decision to homeschool, it was the BEST decision we ever made–Instant stress relief for EVERYONE in the family!!

After years of battling with the school system on behalf of our oldest, we began home schooling and my eldest went from a 1.9 to a 6.2 reading level in one year of home schooling!  It is amazing what can be done if the job is done right, even when you don’t have a background as a teacher, and feel relatively clueless about what you’re doing (as I felt).  I completed an Orton-Gillingham training class before beginning to homeschool, and did TONS of research about how to teach a child with dyslexia.  Being armed with that small amount of information and training enabled us to be successful in educating our boys at home.

If you can consider homeschooling for a period of time, it could help your children educationally and it may just be easier than battling a reluctant public school on behalf of multiple children.   Home schooling was our solution (We couldn’t afford the private schools that actually provide remediation for children with dyslexia), and it was the best decision we made on behalf of our boys.  If you THINK, “I could never homeschool,” whether it’s because you don’t think you have enough patience, you’re not overly organized, etc., you might be quite surprised (as I was) about the change in dynamics that takes place when you do homeschool.

If you have any “wish” that you could homeschool, please read Overcome Your Fear Homeschooling, then decide if homeschooling is a possibility for you.

Best Wishes,
Sandy

Return to Questions

Aug 022013
 

Return to Questions

Q: My child’s teacher says if they provide *any* modifications for my child, she won’t be able to graduate with a regular diploma. Is this true?

Answer:


There is a fine distinction between modifications and accommodations..

Modifications are changes to the actual content your child is required to learn.  In other words, she doesn’t have to learn the same things as the other children.

If your child is receiving proper remedial instruction for Learning Disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia, any modifications made to instruction SHOULD only be temporary.  Modifications are used only until the child can work on grade level.

Given that remediation is proper, and a child eventually has no need for modifications, the receipt of modifications in the past should have no affect on a high school diploma.

The BIG trick here is getting your child SUCCESSFULLY remediated in a timely manner, so that modifications are not being used throughout high school.

Accommodations do not change the level of instruction your child is receiving or any reduction in assignments.  Accommodations are changes to ways of presenting the SAME information in a viable way for the child and/or providing alternative methods for a child to convey her knowledge.

Examples of accommodations include untimed tests, having a test given orally, having a scribe for taking notes, having extended time for assignments, allowing assignments to be typed rather than written by hand, and having content read to your child.

Accommodations use the SAME curriculum that other children are given and makes that same instruction accessible to a child with a disability.  Your child still has to learn the same content as other children and will be eligible for a regular high school diploma even if she uses accommodations throughout high school.

Accommodations for spelling on a vocabulary tests should be made because your child KNOWS the word.. The true point of vocabulary words is for the child to know the word and what it means.. Not necessarily spelling.  Not counting off for spelling is a COMMON accommodation for children with dyslexia.  A child may even be permitted to use a Franklin Speller to find the correct spelling of words.

What your child needs, and you SHOULD advocate for is “Accommodations.”  Accommodations make instruction and expression accessible to a child with learning disabilities and they enable the child to perform at her level of cognitive ability.

Modifications can result in your child receiving less than a regular diploma.. usually a “Certificate of Attendance” or a “Special Education Diploma,” so you really don’t want your child to have modifications.  For additional information, take a look at the Accomodations and Modifications section of our Free Online IEP training.

To find specific accommodations that might help your child, you may want to visit www.fape.org or look at their PDF document with lists of “School Accommodations and Modifications“.

Best Wishes,
Sandy

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Aug 022013
 

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Q: How do you help your child if she has severe problems with memory and information recall?

Answer:


Our neuropsychologist recommended using a ‘self-regulating’ memory system which has worked very well for our child.

Basically, you put the information (facts) to be remembered into a question/answer format on an index cards..

Put the questions on one side of the card, and the answers on the other side (In our case, we had a math problem on one side, and the answer on the other side – If you need math cards, you can buy ready-made math fact flash cards on Amazon).

In this method, your child first looks at the question and tries to recall the answer.. If she can’t remember the answer, she turns the card over, reads the answer, then puts it back in her hand at the back of the deck.

If your child can recall the answer, she lays the card aside in her “I know it” pile.

By starting with a few cards, the cards will cycle through fast enough that your child will eventually be able to remember some of what she JUST read.

As she eliminates fact cards, each review comes up more rapidly and your child may be able to remember with the shorter time between each visit to the card.

Eventually your child will have one card in her hand and she can read the question, then see the answer, then flip it over and read the question, then hopefully answer it because there will be virtually NO delay.

This system worked extremely well for our child who also has memory deficits.

By letting our child do the cards himself.. HE can:

  1. take responsibility for his own learning
  2. regulate how much time he gives himself to think of the answer and
  3. review if he doesn’t know the answer —
    Plus, as time goes on, your child will develop his own internal means of figuring out how to remember things, which is the BIG key to long-term success.

In addition to drilling with flash cards, using special programs can be of great help.

Times Tales - If your child needs to work on multiplication facts, the Times Tales program is a great program for visual learners or students who learn better through narratives (stories).  The program gives the child entertaining associations for each multiplication fact, which really helps the child remember and recall the facts.

For a fun app to help your child practice and improve short-term working memory skills, Memory Magic  is a game offered by Anusen.com.  This app helps a child develop better memory and observation skills.  The game is leveled, so a child is encouraged to work to the next level, which also adds more challenge to strengthen your child’s memory skills in progression, over time.

There are Memory training software. and cognitive skills programs which can be used to help build your child’s memory skills over time.  Research shows that direct instruction provided in ADDITION to a computer-based practice program will bring about the best results when it comes to academic skills like reading, spelling, and math facts.

Using a drill program right before bed will produce the best learning progress.  Since brains keep processing during the early stages of sleep, whatever they were thinking about or doing right before bed is most likely to continue to be processed.

I recommend using a program during the summer and winter holiday breaks from school if your child is in a traditional school, or as part of your typical school day if you are homeschooling.

Hopefully this will help you.. or at least someone ;-) It works great for us! Sandy

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